The need for accurate data pinpointing where broadband service is available and where it is lacking, has never been more important, the FCC said on Thursday when it provided details to state, local and tribal entities with guidance on submitting broadband coverage data as the agency goes full-throttle to develop new maps of high-speed service across the nation.
The FCC said that service providers and governments use broadband maps to make decisions about where service is needed and how to fund the expansion of broadband services. Still, they stressed that accuracy is a priority, and the Commission’s Broadband Data Task Force and several other offices at the FCC have teamed up to ensure that they are correct.
The agency acknowledges in its notification that the country sorely needs to “improve the accuracy of existing maps.”
Two weeks ago at a House FCC oversight hearing, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that the new maps will be available in the fall.
In submitting data, the FCC requires that the individual providing the data is the highest-ranking executive official for the jurisdiction.
In getting to the granular level of information requested, the agency is encouraging localities to coordinate and identify a single entity for the jurisdiction that will submit verified availability data.
However, the task force system will flag submissions involving the same technology and the same overlapping areas, and the data will not be published as part of the verified data from other governmental entities until such time as either the submitting agencies have resolved the data discrepancy between themselves, or the local executive has filed an amended notification letter instructing the bureaus and offices on how to prioritize consideration of the data between the different agencies.
If the Commission receives data from different local agencies whose geography overlaps but whose jurisdictional boundaries differ from one another, such as from a county governmental entity as well as a city governmental entity within the geographic area of the county, they will publish both datasets—assuming the data are “verified” and satisfy the “indicia of credibility” and other requirements the Commission has adopted—and encourage the overlapping local governmental entities to resolve any conflicts or inconsistencies in the data, should they exist.
Filing information is available here.